Home > Games, Movies, Politics, Stupidity > Nudity vs violence in censorship (or, Why the US is stupid, part 1)

Nudity vs violence in censorship (or, Why the US is stupid, part 1)

I just watched a video review of the game God of War 3 by the talentless hack The Irate Gamer. I watch him just so I can get annoyed by him, because that’s fun too. But this post isn’t mainly about him, although he thoroughly sucks. No, it’s about something he said in the review. It reflects on the entire entertainment industry in the US. Here’s a quote:

“now let me preface by saying that this game is NOT intended for kids since it includes harsh language, nudity and a scene of Kratos getting it on with goddess Aphrodite”

It’s not for kids because of harsh language and sexuality. Not once does he mention the gruesome violence and ubiquitous blood being bad for kids. That’s something I will NEVER understand about the Yankee entertainment industry. Over here in Europe we put a stamp of age restriction on something if it has explicit violence. Nudity? Hell no! Why? BECAUSE THE HUMAN BODY ISN’T DANGEROUS! The naked human body is just about the most natural thing in the world for us humans, so why would seeing it hurt kids? It’s ridiculous. But it’s ooooookay to show Kratos ripping limbs off of bodies and whatnot. Yeah, that’s the most natural thing in the world.

Just another reason why the US is considered generally stupid by us Europeans.

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  1. doulos
    3 September, 2010 at 21:59

    I hear this “the human body is natural” argument all the time, and I do think that the double standard between violence/nudity is sort of odd. Here in Canada it seems to swing the other way.

    But as much as I hear that argument from Europeans I don’t see those same people freely walking around naked everywhere. There is an age appropriateness to nudity and even Europeans understand this. Sure, there is more nudity in Europe in every aspect of life, but somewhere there is a line as to when it’s appropriate to expose kids to it’s grandeur!

    In other words, how many naked preschools are there in Europe?

    I agree with the point that nakedness is not in and of itself dangerous, but I would not take it so far as to just say “Go crazy, let kids view whatever they want when it comes to sexuality in video games.”

    But maybe I’m just old fashioned 🙂

    P.S. Just as I was about to hit submit I was reminded of a recent article I read which spoke of how infidelity was a “natural” thing as well. Just because something is natural – or is seen in nature all of the time – does not mean that it’s appropriate for everyone. Keep in mind that animals also like to eat their own crap.

    • 4 September, 2010 at 01:58

      Well, of course we’re not taking it to the level of naked preschools 🙂 I wouldn’t let my young kids play God of War 3 if I had any, but it’s not the nudity that would make me hold that game from them. It’s the gruesome violence.

      Another example is a regular drama flick. There may be a love scene in it, not gratuitous at all, and there will be a breast or something in there. In the US, that’s an instant R rating. Over here? 11 or something like that, if the movie doesn’t have heavy thematic elements.

      So no, it’s not like we shower our kids with nudity over here, but nudity isn’t even considered close to violence in terms of harming the kids if they’re subjected to it in movies or games or whatever. Porn obviously has an 18 year old limit.

      My big question is how the US entertainment industry can turn a completely blind eye to violence (unless it’s torture or something over the top), but a shown nipple is the bane of everyone’s existence.

  2. 4 September, 2010 at 13:05

    Actually the effects of the attitudes in the USA are a good deal worse than the article suggests. The effects of prudery are well established. Attitudes have consequences and the consequences of prudery are widespread and often serious harm, most of it to the young people that the prudes claim to be protecting. It is not coincidence that the USA has such appalling outcomes compared to most European countries. These are the facts and no amount of posturing by those suffering from body prejudice can change them. Prudery is child abuse with good intentions and ignorance is not an excuse.

    There is a near 100% correlation between prudery and poor outcomes. In more prudish countries teenagers become sexually active younger, are more likely to be promiscuous and less likely to use contraception or a condom. The results are predictable. Compared to their peers in the more liberal European countries a teenager in the USA is several times more likely to have an abortion, about ten times more likely to become pregnant and tens of times more likely to catch a sexually transmitted infection. They are more likely to suffer from body image disorders and mothers are much less likely to breastfeed. Is arbitrary body prejudice really worth the life of even one young person? How many young people have to die, or have their lives wrecked, before the adults who are supposed to be responsible for their welfare start to take notice of the facts?

    • doulos
      4 September, 2010 at 16:55

      Malcolm,

      Would love to see some actual science and studies behind the massive amounts of things you’ve said here.

      I just have to laugh at things like ‘mothers are much less likely to breastfeed.’ Who cares outside of people who are big breastfeeding advocates? I’ve never heard a single person in the world ask in a job interview if someone was breastfed or not. Is there a small advantage to breastfeeding? Sure. But to throw it into the middle of your comments and connect it to prudery, and throw out all sorts of terms like child abuse is completely unhelpful to anyone at all. When we had kids there was all sorts of pressure from people to breastfeed and the best thing my wife ever did was to let go of the pressure and just stop. Stop. I found an article that I had read some time ago on this issue – feel free to check it out, you might find it interesting.
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/7311/

      Now, if we’re talking about things like the crazy purity rings stuff etc, then yes, they are dangerous and unhelpful to youth, but again, you’ve made an awful lot of claims using a word called prudity (that as far as I can tell is just some made up word that is hard to figure out exactly what you mean by it), and backed them up with nothing but assumptions. I have been working full time with youth for a decade now – in the middle school and high school system – and so the connections between nudity/violence/sexuality etc are all of interest to me. You could very well be right on some of what you say – I am just saying “Show me the money!”

      Dakkster,

      I am totally getting what you are saying in regards to violence and nudity – there is a strange double standard there and it’s noted by myself as well. I would worry about being TOO open with sexuality and nudity and just being aware of age appropriateness – but it doesn’t sound like you’re arguing against that either, so I wager we’re pretty much on the same page.

      • 4 September, 2010 at 22:08

        Breast feeding.

        I haven’t looked into the breast feeding evidence myself, but every authority from the United Nations to the local midwife seem to be in agreement, so I will need something more convincing than one person’s quick visit to the library. Some actual figures would be helpful.

        This is the NHS advice, http://www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk, still no figures unfortunately.

        And some research establishing the causal link
        http://www.babyfriendly.org.uk/items/research_detail.asp?item=666

      • 4 September, 2010 at 22:09

        Teenage pregnancy

        The correlations are so strong and the differences so enormous that even just a quick look at the figures is pretty convincing. This report goes into more detail. Adolescent Sexual Health in Europe and the U.S.—Why the Difference? by Advocates for Youth (A USA not-for-profit) is worth a read. http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=419&Itemid=177

        I did some research myself in this area a few years back because if the perceived wisdom on sex education was correct then an effect was to be expected. I got a panel of naturists to rank order otherwise similar groups of western countries according to how prudish they are. Then I looked at the figures. My principle interest at the time was teenage pregnancy and for that, on a simple binary comparison (more/less prudish, better/worse outcome), the correlation was about 97%. However inspection of the figures showed that the differences in outcomes were relatively smaller for countries with small differences in attitudes so I am confident that more sophisticated data gathering and analysis would find a much higher correlation. I haven’t looked into it properly but from a quick look at the UK regional figures and anecdotal evidence about attitudes it looks like the same pattern applies at the regional level.

      • 4 September, 2010 at 22:19

        Age appropriate sex and nudity

        Censorship has been much more successful at preventing realistic portrayals of sex and nudity than it has at preventing access to pornography. For many young people that is the main source of information and role models.

        Children are completely oblivious to nudity until an adult tells them otherwise. It is entirely a learnt attitude. It is appropriate at any age.

      • 4 September, 2010 at 22:23

        If somebody does something, or encourages something, that results in a teenager being ten times more likely to become pregnant, then in my book that is child abuse.

      • doulos
        4 September, 2010 at 23:28

        I actually am in agreement with some of your points. But a lesson on the difference between correlation and causality is in order here.

        Enjoy your nakedness though 🙂

      • 4 September, 2010 at 23:55

        Well I could go into the causality if you like but I was trying to keep my post reasonably brief. Please see the Advocates for Youth document.

  3. doulos
    4 September, 2010 at 16:56

    Oops the word was prudery – not prudity. Prudery IS a real word, so I take that back…ha ha.

  4. A1rh3ad
    9 August, 2013 at 16:02

    Makes me think of a little game called Duke Nukem 64. It was a heavily censored release of Duke Nukem 3d on the Nintendo64. There are some naked women hanging from the ceiling. When it was ported to the N64, since they weren’t allowed to show breasts, they redrew them with their breasts ripped out with gore and all. When I was young I wondered why that was ok but not the boobies. Censorship is weird.

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